A Lady's Ruminations

"Jane was firm where she felt herself to be right." -Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

How Dare the British Have Won?

On 21 October 1805, off Cape Trafalgar, Spain, Horatio, Admiral Lord Nelson, had the signal "England expects that every man will do his duty" hoisted above his ship, HMS Victory. The Battle of Trafalgar decisively ended the effectiveness of the Napoleon's French fleet. The British had been fighting the French for 12 years, by that point, but Napoleon continued conquering Europe for the next 10 or so years.

Nelson is one of the great English heroes and deserves to be honored as such. Despite already losing an eye and an arm in the years before Trafalgar, Admiral Nelson continued to do his duty until the very end. On 21 October 1805, he was mortally wounded while commanding the British Navy against the French. His last words were, "I have done my duty. I thank God for it!"

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Horatio, Admiral Lord Nelson

21 October 2005 will mark the 200th Anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar. The British, French, and Spanish, on Tuesday, held a naval re-enactment celebration in honor of one of the most important naval battles in history.

Unfortunately, instead of the British and French fleets "fighting," the red and blue fleets fought. Apparently, no one wanted to hurt the French feelings because they were (are) the losers. Boo hoo! One would think they would be used to it by now. Is there a battle the French have won in the last century?

According to the article:
Organizers of the bicentenary celebrations were anxious to avoid accusations of triumphalism, especially at a time when Anglo-French relations are frosty as London and Paris clash over the future direction of the European Union.
Winning equals the right to be triumphant. Trafalgar was a very important battle. The British have always been proud of the victory. As for Anglo-French relations being "frosty," the English and the French have always been staunch enemies, even when they were allies. Will calling the fleets "red" and "blue" actually make them friends?

Nelson's great great great granddaughter, 75-year-old Anna Tribe, said, "I am anti-political correctness. Very much against it. It makes fools of us. I think the idea of the blue team fighting the red team is pretty stupid. I am sure the French and Spanish are adult enough to appreciate we did win that battle."

Alex Naylor, the historian who played Nelson in the mock battle, added, "If you obliterate history for the sake of political correctness, you can't learn from the past. Nelson thought politicians were cowards. I tend to agree."

I agree wholeheartedly. Rather than allow the British navy to rule the waves, as it had always done, the British have allowed political correctness to rule the day. Without the English victory at Trafalgar, we might all be speaking French today.

Heaven forfend. The British have given up doing their duty.